snopes.com  

Go Back   snopes.com > Urban Legends > Trivia

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 04 April 2009, 06:38 AM
snopes's Avatar
snopes snopes is offline
 
Join Date: 18 February 2000
Location: California
Posts: 108,807
Goldfish Einstein quiz

Comment: My question is about the Einstein Logic puzzle. It is a puzzle
that has been on the web for years. It can be found on many sites and I
have had it emailed to me.

The claim is that this was indeed created by Einstein, which is my first
doubt. My second doubt is the actual answer, according to some websites
such as the one I listed.

Puzzle Link:
http://www.amazeingart.com/fun/einstein-quiz.html

Puzzle Answer:
http://www.amazeingart.com/fun/einst...iz-answer.html

My doubt is that it the intentions was to do the work logically and find
out the answer rather than a loophole as the website indicates.

So my rumour is a two parter:
Did Einstein create this puzzle?
Is the answer suppose to be unsolvable?
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 04 April 2009, 12:51 PM
Richard W's Avatar
Richard W Richard W is offline
 
Join Date: 19 February 2000
Location: High Wycombe, UK
Posts: 23,146
Default

It's a standard logic problem of the sort you get in puzzle books, clearly. If you work it out logically using the clues and a grid, you get (assuming the houses are labelled 1 - 5 left - right):

House 1, Norwegian, yellow, water, Dunhill, cats
House 2, Danish, blue, tea, Blend, horses
House 3, British, red, milk, Pall Mall, birds
House 4, German, green, coffee, Prince, (fish or whatever)
House 5, Swedish, white, beer, Blue Master, dogs


The answer they give is strictly correct, obviously, though... but if this puzzle was in a book, the grid would be drawn out for you and so the last pet would be known - by convention that would be the one asked for.

But they're right that in this context the answer is just "No".

I don't see how you'd even go about proving that it was nothing to do with Einstein - that should be obvious shouldn't it? When was this type of Logic Problem invented? The puzzle books seemed to start in the 1970s, after Einstein died.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 04 April 2009, 06:31 PM
snopes's Avatar
snopes snopes is offline
 
Join Date: 18 February 2000
Location: California
Posts: 108,807
Ponder

Quote:
I don't see how you'd even go about proving that it was nothing to do with Einstein
Alan Dundes' "Paperwork Empire" books have very similar versions collected from the mid-1970s which neither attribute the problem to Einstein nor include the "Who owns the fish" problem, so I think it's safe to say those are features of atter-day variants.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 05 April 2009, 12:37 PM
Richard W's Avatar
Richard W Richard W is offline
 
Join Date: 19 February 2000
Location: High Wycombe, UK
Posts: 23,146
Default

It strikes me as a bit of a sneaky question anyway (mostly because I'm annoyed with myself for not seeing what they were getting at until I looked at the answer). I did notice that the fish wasn't mentioned in the clues, but it's mentioned in the question, and the convention for that sort of puzzle usually is that any mention of an item counts to let you know the full list you're looking for.

It's a bit like printing a crossword clue and saying "Can you work this out?" and, if somebody comes up with the answer, then telling them they're wrong because it wasn't a crossword clue, just a random collection of words followed by a number in brackets that didn't mean anything, and their assumption that it was a crossword clue was unjustified.

Well, perhaps not. As I said, I'm just slightly annoyed with myself for not seeing what they were getting at. I was expecting some sort of joke to do with ethnic stereotypes.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 10 June 2009, 04:21 AM
Beldaran Beldaran is offline
 
Join Date: 08 February 2007
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 833
Default

I just found this tonight, and after an hour or so of working on it, I was annoyed that I had to assume that the Green house and White house were neighbors, when the puzzle simply said "The green house is on the left of the white house". At first that meant to me that the green house couldn't be in position 5, and the white house couldn't be in position 1. After staring at my grid way too long, I finally assumed that they were next to each other rather than the green house being able to be house 2 if the white house was house 4.

So I filled in the rest of the grid in pencil, got the same answers people here got, clicked the answer and I was quite annoyed. I've done these before where a clue will say "The purple man doesn't have clocks" as a way to let you fill in either purple or clocks as a possible answer, not to get to the end and have them say "Ha ha! We didn't tell you that someone DID own clocks, did we?"
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 10 June 2009, 04:40 PM
Richard W's Avatar
Richard W Richard W is offline
 
Join Date: 19 February 2000
Location: High Wycombe, UK
Posts: 23,146
Default

I don't remember having to assume that those houses were next to each other to get the "non-trick" answer - perhaps you just missed a combination...
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 10 June 2009, 11:22 PM
Beldaran Beldaran is offline
 
Join Date: 08 February 2007
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 833
Icon05

I just redrew a graph and mapped it all out again. Right now if I don't assume the green house and the white house are neighbors, there is nothing more I can do.

My strategy, if you can call it that, is to go through the given clues and mark them off, and then once all that is done, I go back and match up the possibilities for the known answers. So first pass I mark that the Brit lives in the red house (and x off other colors and nationalities) and so on down the list of clues. Then the second pass I'd see that the green house drinks coffee, so the Brit can't be the coffee drinker and so on. What's really sad is I came up with that example with out looking at my grid.

I'd be interested to see if you can do it again without making the assumption I did, as I can't seem to.

Currently I know that green has to be house 1 or 4, and white has to be 3, 4 or 5. Going by "on the left" green can be house 1, and white can be any. Or green can be 4 and white has to be 5. Assuming they're neighbors forces green to be 4 and white to be 5.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 11 June 2009, 12:31 AM
Richard W's Avatar
Richard W Richard W is offline
 
Join Date: 19 February 2000
Location: High Wycombe, UK
Posts: 23,146
Icon24

Unfortunately I think I recently recycled the bit of paper on which I'd drawn out my own grid, and even if I still had it, it wouldn't help because it was completely filled anyway...!

I might try again, but at the moment I can't be bothered. By the sounds of it I use the same method you do, though, except perhaps that I abstract it more - once I've filled in the obvious answers, I just go through the grid and cross-reference everything regardless of meaning, which sometimes brings out definite answers; then go through the clues again and see whether there's anything new that can be deduced (this is where "on the left of" would have paid off) and so on.

I may be wrong, perhaps you're right; but I agree with you that the conventional wording in these puzzles wouldn't imply that the houses are next to each other, and therefore I'd have been as annoyed as you are if it had turned out I was meant to assume that they were, and I don't remember being annoyed. So I conclude that you are wrong.

(eta) Or perhaps you're right, and I interpreted "on the left" as meaning "immediately on the left" rather than "to the left". As I said, I can't remember. Sorry, I probably shouldn't have re-entered the conversation...

Last edited by Richard W; 11 June 2009 at 12:37 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 11 June 2009, 01:17 PM
Beldaran Beldaran is offline
 
Join Date: 08 February 2007
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 833
Default

Eh, it's not a big deal. I'm thinking you probably read it as "immediately on the left" and didn't give it a second thought, which was why it didn't annoy you.

Thinking more about it, if I were to describe it, saying "on the left of" would mean the immediate left, and "to the left of" could mean anywhere on the left side. So I was probably over thinking because I was preparing to be tricked.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 11 June 2009, 08:15 PM
Silas Sparkhammer's Avatar
Silas Sparkhammer Silas Sparkhammer is offline
 
Join Date: 22 September 2000
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 26,843
Whalephant

I remember working that puzzle (or one very like it.) I stumbled for a long time over "to the left," because -- well, how can I know? Which way am I facing? Maybe I'm in the rear alley, looking at the houses' backs! Finally, I decided to use the information in its most minimal form: "to the left of" is equivalent to "is not the same as." And that was all I needed; I didn't need it to be "adjacent," just "not equal to." However....that might have been a slightly different puzzle.

Silas
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 11 June 2009, 10:16 PM
Beldaran Beldaran is offline
 
Join Date: 08 February 2007
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 833
Default

For this one, the houses in question were different colors, so it was already obvious that the green house was not the white house. It must've been a different one then.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 12 June 2009, 01:04 PM
Richard W's Avatar
Richard W Richard W is offline
 
Join Date: 19 February 2000
Location: High Wycombe, UK
Posts: 23,146
Default

Yes, in this one I assumed that the houses were labelled 1 - 5, left to right as I said in my first post. But as long as you took a consistent viewpoint, (so that "left" and "right" always mean the same direction relative to the houses) then as Silas said, it shouldn't make a difference as it would be symmetric anyway. (I suppose you'd get the numbers coming out backwards).

But again, if this was in a book, they'd probably have a little drawing of the row of houses so that that wasn't ambiguous either. The books that my mum used to get (and that I've picked up once or twice) certainly seemed to be thorough about eliminating any ambiguity you might think of.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 12 June 2009, 06:20 PM
Shnoops Shnoops is offline
 
 
Join Date: 15 May 2007
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 1,370
Icon102

Beldaran I solved it by collecting the information for the 1st house, then the 2nd. However, based on the answer given, i wrongly assumed the 1st house was the farthest left.

I'm pretty sure i did this puzzle before and was stuck for a bit because i couldn't decide which house was 1st and was the left house to the immediate left or further down. The way i did the puzzle this time made it irrelevant to decide how far left the house is located.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 12 June 2009, 07:08 PM
Richard W's Avatar
Richard W Richard W is offline
 
Join Date: 19 February 2000
Location: High Wycombe, UK
Posts: 23,146
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shnoops View Post
However, based on the answer given, i wrongly assumed the 1st house was the farthest left.
Are you talking about the answer in my post? I also assumed that "house 1" was the furthest left. As Silas said, that's probably arbitrary - as long as you're consistent about the directions I expect you could get the same solution with the houses labelled "5 - 1" left to right as well.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 15 June 2009, 01:20 AM
Beldaran Beldaran is offline
 
Join Date: 08 February 2007
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 833
Icon202

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
Are you talking about the answer in my post? I also assumed that "house 1" was the furthest left. As Silas said, that's probably arbitrary - as long as you're consistent about the directions I expect you could get the same solution with the houses labelled "5 - 1" left to right as well.
What I get from Silas' post is that the only info needed would be that if it said "the people with gorillas live to the left of the purple house" then all you need to know is that the gorillas aren't in the purple house. Nothing was said about symmetry or direction.

But that info doesn't help me here, as I already know the green house is not the white house.

I also assumed the first house was the farthest left, and I got the correct "wrong" answer that way.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 01:42 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.